Savory Wheat Crackers
Note: The dough for these irresistible crackers is made in minutes in the food processor. Here, the topping has a central Asian tang, but you can top them with hot chili powder, grated cheese, or even a sprinkling of coconut.
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
About 3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1. Stir together the sesame, anise and nigella seeds and coarse salt; set aside.
2. In a food processor, place 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt; whirl for a few seconds, just to mix. With the machine running, add water in a steady stream, processing for 10 seconds. You should have a large ball of dough. (If the dough is very sticky, add 3 to 4 tablespoons more flour and process to form a ball; if it's dry, add 2 to 3 tablespoons more water while the motor is running.) Process dough ball 1 minute more. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, then knead it for 30 seconds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 500 degrees. Prepare a couple of large baking sheets and a spray bottle with water.
4. Cut dough into 8 pieces. Dust a work surface with flour; lightly flour your hands. Working with one dough piece at a time (keep the rest covered), flatten it with your hands; use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large, very thin, even rectangle. Gently roll dough around your rolling pin; unroll it onto a pan.
5. Use a pizza cutter or thin, sharp knife to cut dough into rectangles. There's no need to separate the crackers; don't worry if they're not all the same size. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon spice mix; spray lightly with water.
6. Bake the crackers for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. As soon as the thinnest crackers start to brown, remove them with a metal spatula; continue to bake the others until golden. It is better to bake these too little than too much. Once the crackers start browning, check them every 30 seconds to avoid burning.
7. When the crackers come out of the oven, some will already be crisp; some will crisp in the air. Put the crackers in a large bowl, breaking up any that did not separate during baking. Roll, season and bake remaining dough. Store cooled crackers in tins or well-sealed plastic bags for up to 1 month.
-- Dorie Greenspan "Baking with Julia" (William Morrow, 1996)